Enslaved Women and the Art of Resistance in Antebellum America (Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice)

Enslaved Women and the Art of Resistance in Antebellum America (Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice)

Language: English

Pages: 282

ISBN: 0230618464

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Draws on mid-seventeenth to nineteenth-century slave narratives to describe oppression in the lives of enslaved African women. Investigates pre-colonial West and West Central African women's lives prior to European arrival to recover the cultural traditions and religious practices that helped enslaved women combat violence and oppression.

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these roles and to be a channel for the return of this life to the ancestors.”19 By contrast, in other societies such as the Igbo, family systems followed a complex patrilineal descent system, and in some cases, as Gomez adds, a “double unilineal descent or double system.”20 African feminist scholar Nkiru Nzegwu argues that in some precolonial societies such as the Igbo, although lineages were traced through the bloodline of the biological father, patrilineal systems did not “identify the locus

slavery, which has benefited public and academic discourse; yet religious scholars are not yet describing the full variety of violence evident in enslaved women’s literature. Five categories of violence—domestic, sexual, sisterhood, sistah-hood, and self—offer a framework for examining unimaginable terroristic acts committed against or internalized by enslaved women. Domestic violence I discuss in this chapter, sexual violence in the next, sisterhood and sistah-hood violence in chapter five, and

America, we turn our attention to anti-Africanness in the mind of the master and the missionary. Such exploration is necessary to better understand the complex realities of religio-cultural oppression in the lives of enslaved women. Freeborn enslaved African peoples and those born enslaved on North American soil were subjected to all forms of domestic, sexual, and sisterhood violence at the hands of white peoples as we have seen amply. Yet, it was slavers and white missionaries, and some

anti-African fervor. Anti-Africanness was expressed and defended on the floor of the House of Delegates, argued in courtrooms, legislated at the nation’s and state’s capitols, exegeted from biblical texts, sermonized from Christian pulpits, cried out in Catholic confessionals, proselytized at evangelical camp meetings, persuaded to planters by missionaries, taught during religious instruction, advocated at proslavery gatherings, photographed at lynching sites, flaunted on auction blocks,

Finally, North American black feminist and womanist scholars in the field of religion have not yet provided a nuanced perspective of black women’s ritualized practices of resistance, self-affirmation, and freedom. Traci C. West makes this point clear when she challenges us to construct “liturgical theology” (what I term as rituals of resistance and well-being) relevant for women faced with the realities of heteropatriarchy, violence, and multidimensional oppression.10 Barbara Holmes’ work, Joy

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